Chum salmon are the most abundant wild salmon species in Washington State,
and at the same time are probably the least appreciated of the state's
salmon. Chum salmon have many admirable attributes, not the least of which
is the fact that this species has shown remarkable resilience during a
period when other salmon species have shown substantial declines.
Chum Salmon in Washington State
The current distribution of chum salmon spans most of western Washington,
including Puget Sound, the coast, and several lower Columbia River streams.
The chum stocks of these three regions represent genetically distinct
population groupings and are managed separately.
Along with sockeye and pink salmon, chum salmon have traditionally been
considered a commercial fishing species. In the nineteen-nineties, chum
salmon have been the most valuable of Washington produced salmon to state
and tribal commercial fishers, in terms of total state-wide annual value.
In recent years, however, there has been growing sport fishing interest
in chum salmon, both in marine and freshwater fisheries. As sport fishing
opportunities have been restricted for other species, the abundant chum
salmon runs have been "discovered" by many salmon anglers, and new fishing
locations and techniques are helping to make chum salmon an important